Binary Knitting

October 2, 2009 § 2 Comments


It seems that there are afew people that have considered the concept of Binary Knitting as something to incorporate into their knitted garments, eg: A name knit on a single line like morse code into their garments like a trademark or label. You know you’re somewhat a geek when you are pondering this as an option to apply to your knitting. Well maybe not so much, when you think about it knitting is basically a representation of the Binary Numeric System, stitches Knit and Purl is to 0 and 1 or vise versa.

What is Binary Knitting?

The number systems most people are familiar with is known as Decimal, which is a base 10 numeric system. When we count, we go from 0 to 10 and then start over by increasing the ordinal number. The number 9 changes to 10 which is an ordinal increase, the tens spot increases by 1 and the ones spot is reset to the beginning of the set (which is 0). Eg: 20 to 29 and next 30, 50 to 59 and next 60 and so on …

Computers interpret everything input, and stored into it as 0’s and 1’s, this number system is known as the Binary Numeric System. Each 0 or 1 is known as a bit, 8 bits make a byte, 1 byte is a character, which is a letter, space or a number found on a keyboard.

And I could now go on with Hexadecimals as well, but I’ll leave you to research that further if you wish on Wikipedia and send your brain on bender :) …

Or your could just watch this cool video, which explains it all quite nicely to might I add …

Character to Binary Conversion Tool

Ok, so this tool (if you googled) can be called a number of names. You can do a variety of searches, for of which are:

  • Binary Conversion Tool
  • Binary Encoder/Decoder
  • Binary to Sring Tool
  • Binary to Character Tool

I used this Binary Conversion Tool!! (shhh, only coz I was too lazy to build something myself)

The process

  1. Using the Binary Conversion Tool, decide on your name, word or phrase (note: Upper and Lower Case when you are deciding) and key it in.
  2. Using your binary converted phrase, decide how you want your 0’s and 1’s represented.
  3. Simple Example: Defining a Pattern in One Colour – Purl (P) = 0s, Knit (K) = 1’s
  • Phrase/Word: Love
  • Binary Phrase: 01001100011011110111011001100101
  • Pattern: P, K, P, P, K, K, P, P, P, K, K, P, K, K, K, K, P, K, K, K, P, K, K, P, P, K, K, P, P, K, P, K      Or P, K, P2, K2, P3, K2, P, K4, P, K3, P, K2, P2, K2, P2, K, P, K

4.  Decide as well how you would like to arrange your stitches to make a pattern.

I have opted to arranging my stitches into an 8 Stitch Pattern Repeat

  • Row1 (Letter “L”): P, K, P2, K2, P2
  • Row2 (Letter “o”): P, K2, P, K4
  • Row3 (Letter “v”): P, K3, P, K2, P
  • Row4 (Letter “e”): P, K2, P2, K, P, K

NOTE: Remember that 8 stitches represent 1 character that you converted, including spaces. So in my pattern derivative, I have 4 rows of 8 stitch repeats. (8 sts in Row1=L, …Row2=o, …Row3=v, …Row4=e). You could also include a 2 colour combo together with your knit/purl to make it interesting ;)

Ahhh and here is a visual swatch representation of the theory I was just alluding to …


No doubt some of you reading this have known of this concept for some time. Here are some other works created with the same concept:

So, I think that this might be all you need to know to start experimenting with your own stitch pattern designs, I’m thinking wash cloths might be a good testing ground for your stitch patterns! At least you get to swatch at the same time :)

Happy inventing!

Sources of Information:

Binary Conversion Tools:

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